A divided federal appeals court panel dealt a severe blow to the U.S. House of Representatives’ investigative power Monday, ruling that the House can’t go to court to enforce subpoenas because there is no statute giving that chamber the authority to do so.
The 2-1 ruling marked the second time a D.C. Circuit Court of Appeals panel voided a subpoena the House issued last year to Donald McGahn demanding the former White House counsel testify about his dealings with President Donald Trump related to the investigation into alleged ties between the Trump campaign and Russia.
The panel said Congress is free to pass a law making House subpoenas enforceable, but the courts can’t create a legal mechanism to mandate compliance in the meantime. The House is likely to ask the full bench of the appeals court to take up the question.